Many, if not most, Old Cranleighans will have heard about the recent imprisonment of Matt Hedges (Loveday 2006),or Matt Hook as many will remember him, in the UAE and his subsequent pardoning by the authorities.
Matt, who was arrested in May following a two-week research trip to the UAE for his doctoral thesis, was accused of spying for the British government. He was found guilty after a seven-month ordeal, where he was heavily interrogated without legal or consular counsel and held in solitary confinement for nearly the entire duration of his detention. His release followed an aggressive media campaign led and entirely financed by his wife, Daniela.
Although now back in the UK with his family, Matt faces numerous restrictions since the charges against him and his sentence were never quashed by the UAE.
“We need to clear Matt’s name so that we can have a normal life where his academic legitimacy isn’t questioned for a minute,” Daniela explained. “We have set up a legal crowdfund on CrowdJustice to help us finance the hefty fees that will come with pursuing legal action to ensure that Matt’s name is lawfully cleared.
“What we are trying to achieve is not an easy feat and we’d be most appreciative to count on OC Society’s support. To be clear, we’re not asking many organisations to do this. We’ve reached out directly to you because we know that having the support of Cranleigh’s network could make a huge difference to Matt’s case.
If you would like to help Matt please click here. Donations are entirely discretionary and Matt and Daniela will be incredibly grateful for every single one, regardless of the sum.
“It means a lot to Matt, as it does to me, to know that he counts with the undivided support of his school in what has been an indescribably distressing affair,” Daniela said. “Matt has always spoken very fondly of Cranleigh, and it’s very heart-warming to see for myself why he holds it so dearly in his heart. Words or gestures will never suffice to express how thankful we are to the Cranleigh community for your support and commitment to our cause.”